Monday, January 26, 2015

Topbox Jan 2015 review! First box of the year!

This is my first Topbox for the new year!
I was very exited and was hoping my box would be better than the last few. My last couple boxes were good, but too similar and quite repetitive and I just never got around to posting my reviews.

I have been a Topbox subscriber since the very first box and I find lately there is just too much anti-age and eyelash items. I only have one face and have so many creams I may never run out.
Some of the products not suited for me are always passed along- family and friends are always pleased about that!

What was in my mailbox...a cute tube in the purple envelope!

My January 2015 Topbox items:

My first thoughts on this box are that it seems allright. I was kind of hoping for some body products as it is winter and I use so much body cream and have very dry hands too....
The first item I opened was:

So Susan Dual Brow Powder: full size! 4g, value $18
I  do not really use brow products and already have dark brows. But this seems like a nice product and I will try it out. It has 2 matte brown shades and a nice angle brush.
I will update once I tidy up my brows and use this a few times.
This is a British brand and the packaging states the powder is formulated in Italy and packaging made in China. That is good to know!

Matrix Oil Wonders: 10ml per packet- shampoo and conditioner x2, value:
There is enough for me to try on my hair twice. My hair is curly and past shoulder length. Matrix is a good salon brand,so I will see how this stacks up to the other Argan oil products I've tried from the salons!

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future spf 30 cream: 7ml, sample jar. Full size 50ml $60
Another spf cream. I guess it is useful as you need to wear sunscreen during the winter too. I will try this out the next couple days and report back....
My first impression is the cream is very light on my hand, but also quite fragranced. I am quite sensitive to fragranced face products.

Eyeko Mascara Off Eye Makeup Remover Wipes: 10pc package, value $12
This looks like it is a full size product. It sounds like a good product, but I do not use waterproof mascara often. I will try to use this soon...

*If you have used any of these products I'd like to know what you thought!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Foodiepages January 2015 Tasting Box!

Finally! I got my hands on one of the very limited edition January 2015 Tasting Box!
Well, that was quite a mouthful of words to say....YUM!
I will do a "virtual unboxing". Here is how my box came in the mail:

First opening of my Jan 2015 Foodiepages box!

Next, I dug out all the well packaged products for this lovely picture...

Foodiepages items I received!

I started tasting the many items in my box as soon as I opened it. The Bushman's Bar was opened and very tasty- I might have forgotten to take a picture of the opened bar. The Coconut energy bites were tasted, as was the granola. I also made some nachos with the spinach sauce.
So far the only item I have not opened was the hot sauce. A more in-depth review will follow...

Granola Granade from Lovin' Every Batch (Toronto,ON):
This was one of the first products I tried. The packaging was really cute and has that handmade feel. The tag for the kind of granola was handwritten and pinned to the product bag. I like how there is a little heart cut out on the product tag- there is a lot of attention to detail in how this product is made.
The product description states the granola is vegan and gluten-free, that is always good to know!
There was a lot of nuts in the granola and it was not too sweet. It was quite filling and good for a snack or in between meals.
I did not see the company info up on Foodiepages yet and there was no website other than their Facebook page at the moment, so I'm guessing this is a fairly new company...

Lovin' Every Batch Granola Grenade!

Jalapeno Gin Hot Sauce from Andy the Butcher!

Jalapeno Gin Hot Sauce from Andy the Butcher (Ottawa,ON): 
I like that this product is made in Ottawa because I try to buy a lot of local and Canadian foods when possible. I have not opened this sauce yet,but I am sure it can be used on so many things- like vegetables,meats,soups. I do not eat very spicy foods,so I'll try this sometime soon....

Nomz Energy Bites!

Coconut Energy Bites from Nomz (Toronto,ON):
These energy bites were quite tasty and more filling than I expected.
There was 6 bites in the package and each one is 19g. That is a good size for a snack and it is easy to eat one of these. The energy bites also travel well and did not fall apart in the package.
I also like how the ingredients are simple and this is a low sodium product. The bites are made up of PECANS,DATES,ALMONDS,COCONUT,ORGANIC COCOA, COCONUT OIL.
If you like dates and nuts with a bit of chocolate then this is something you would like!
I am going to try and check out the other bites by Nomz soon!

Tomato Sauce from Aldanel!

Spinach Carnival Tomato Sauce from Aldanel (Charlottetown PE):
The description for the sauce lists it as being versatile for pasta,nachos,vegetables and more...
All Canadian Ingredient Nachos!
The sauce was opened as soon as I read this as I was hungry and it was dinner time. I made some nachos with the sauce and they were delicious. This sauce would be great on pasta or pretty much anything.
This is not a spicy sauce and that is great as many people can not handle too many spices. The portion size is also great for one or two people with not too much left over or waste. This sauce is also affordable and the company charges a flat rate for shipping!
My nachos were made with all Canadian ingredients- local cheese and tortilla chips.
The nachos deserve their own review.
Even my place mat was locally made by a lady who does weaving!

Bushman's Bar!

The Bushman's Bar from Boreal Berry Bar (Austin MB):
This is a bar that is made of dried berries and seeds that are blended together. I kind of expected there to be pieces of berry and seeds and not such a solid "blended" bar.
I thought I had taken a picture of the bar before I ate it and I guess I did not...
The bar is quite filling and was good- there is a lot more ingredients than I expected for a berry bar- was more expecting just a bar with seeds,berries and honey.
This reminds me more of the sports bars and is a kind of bar that would travel well if you do sports. The nutrition for the bar is very good- there is 9 grams of protein in a 60 gram bar and 9 grams of fat. Also 240 calories and 10% of daily iron and calcium requirements!
If I see this bar I will pick a couple up.

Overall I enjoyed the January Foodiepages box and had never heard of any of these products before!
So this was a very fun and tasty experience!

New year!! More writing coming soon...

January has crept up on me and before I knew it the month is almost over!
I did not get around to posting any holiday posts, but hopefully everyone is keeping warm this winter.
This year there will be a lot of reviews, food and how-to posts coming soon......

Monday, June 30, 2014

Topbox June 2014 Review! 2 New brands and 2 Fave brands too!

When I received my Topbox in the mail I first was a bit underwhelmed as I had another green polish, but it is actually a shade I do not own and a new to me brand Teez cosmetics.
First not too exited by a lip balm, but then it is not a brand I have used...and it is Canadian.
KMS hair products I do like and had not tried anything new from them in a that is fun.
Derma E did not thrill me at first as I already use at least ten of their products, but then I realized I do not own any of their hand cream!
Now that I've had some time to try these items, here are my thoughts on these products:

June 2014 Topbox contents!

*TEEZ : Chain of Stones Nail Laquer in Jealously Jade. Full size item!  8.5ml bottle, value $15.00
This is a brand I have seen in other boxes, but have never tried. I've always thought their packaging was nice and different from other nail polish, as most are quite plain-looking bottles.
The polish/laquer went on quite easily, but did need 2  coats as it went on fairly sheer and is not a very thick product to apply.
The wear of the laquer was just ok. Without a topcoat the finish looked a bit dull after washing my hands so much in one day. I also had to use some alcohol products to clean my hands and this actually made some of the polish come off on the alcohol wipes.
I do not think I have had this happen before with other brands.
Overall the nail polish is decent, but I think it is better to use a topcoat with it to get any durability.
If I saw this brand I would be interested in trying some of their face cosmetics.

Teez Chain of Stones nail laquer in JEALOUSLY JADE.

*Barefoot Venus: Lip Fable in Knock Out mint. Full size item!! 4g tin, value $7.50.
I had heard of this brand before and was always curious to try their bath and body products.
A little disappointed that I received a lip balm, as I have so many unopened tubes here. Still mint lip products are my favorite and I try to use a lot of natural items, so nice to have more mint balms.
Barefoot Venus is also a Canadian company and that is another plus! Also that the balm is 99.9 natural is good to know.
The balm does moisturize nicely, but I did not find the mint part very strong. Maybe it is wintergreen or another light kind of flavouring. My lips did not feel like they were on fire or anything and that is good.
Some balms I've tried before had too much of certain ingredients that did not agree with me.
Overall pleased with this lip balm. There was also a 20% off coupon stuck to the other side of the lip balm tin, that is a neat way to include a coupon. Might have to place an order soon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Topbox May 2014 review!

My May 2014 Topbox came quite a few weeks ago and I was hoping to have used more of the products by now, but can not try out everything as I'm unable to use any eye products for a few more weeks.
(Due to a eyeball injury, also why I cut back on computer use).

The May Topbox I received was more fun this month as there was quite a few colour cosmetics that were sent and a new to me brand of nail polish in a quite unusual shade!

May 2014 Topbox items received!

*Kinetics nail colors: full size 15ml, value $9. (Splatter It! KP264)
This brand of nail color is new to me. It is not really a shade I would have chosen, so it is fun to try new brands and finishes for me.
I thought this would apply like a solid black with white, but this is more a clear topcoat with black and white bits in it. Another plus is the laquer is made in France and that country is known for good cosmetics!

*I tried this topcoat on my bare nails and it did not look good on me that way- it made my nails look like they had dark specks on them. On top of a colored polish it looked really nice!

*Lancome Paris: Hypnose Doll Lashes mascara in 01 So Black: sample size 4ml, value $22    /full size 6.5ml, $31.50.
Did not try this item yet as I can not use any eye products at the moment.
Review coming soon.....

*Elizabeth Arden: Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion SPF 15: sample size 5ml, value $4.80/ full size 50ml, $48.
I have only tried this lotion once so far and found it quite nice and light for my combination skin.
Good for spring time, but for winter this might be a bit too light for me.
Trying this lotion a couple other times, it is very refreshing when it goes on and felt quite light the whole day.
There is also a kind of tropical floral kind of scent that is quite noticeable, so if you like products with no fragrance this is not one of those.
I also like how this came in a cute little pump bottle instead of a tube. Will most likely pick up some of this once I run out.

*Benefit Cosmetics: posiebalm- hydrating tinted lip balm: cute sample size 0.5g, value $3.70/ full size 3g, $22.
This balm goes on very smoothly and has a nice sheer light pink tint!
There is also a quite strong floral scent when you open the balm- I prefer balms with no fragrance usually.
*I asked someone to smell the balm for me and they thought the smell was more of rose. I could not exactly tell myself if it was rose or just other flowers.
You do not really taste anything when applying this, so that is a plus.
There is no sunscreen in this so will most likely use this when it is not super sunny out!

Total Value of my May 2014 Topbox:  $39.20

Overall I am quite pleased with the items I received in my box and plan to use them all.
I do hope I get less mascara, as I seem to get one from Topbox every second month it seems.
One of my favorite products in the box was the sunscreen lotion! I like how it is very light and feels so refreshing- will be buying more of it soon!

Foodiepages Tasting Box May 2014! Local Ottawa food even!

I got my May 2014 Foodiepages Tasting Box quite a while back and did not get around to posting until now.
This time I also managed to send one of the boxes to my mother as a gift, as I was sure she would like the items in this box.
Usually for gifts I like to give specific products, but when I saw this box I knew she would like all the products in it and I was right!

Here is a virtual unboxing of my box:

Opening my box!

Info card about products!

The first product I tried was the Rock Salt CRAVE! Skinny Crackers from enerjive!
This is a company that is based in Ottawa and I see their crackers almost everywhere I shop, yet had never picked them up as I was not too sure how they would taste.

The unopened foods!

Crave Skinny crackers right out the box!
The Crave! Skinny crackers were kind of sweet and also quite salty at the same time as they had a lot of rock salt on them. The crackers were also quite sturdy and crunchy and do not break too easily.
I think they would be good with any kind of item that is sweet or savory.
So far I've had the crackers with a tomato jam I had from a earlier box and with some cheddar cheese and both were delicious!

I really enjoyed the Tomato Jam and think it would be amazing with some cream cheese for some kind of dip or even as a sandwich topping with a grilled cheese.
This will be a product that I will be ordering soon! There are so many things I could think of using this condiment...I wish they sent a bigger jar!

*I also have some pictures of the amazing salad dressing. Just need to recharge my camera and find those images.
I also sent my mother the dressing and she could not stop raving about it and how she had some on a spinach salad with fresh berries too. Her dinner guests also enjoyed the dressing- she plans to purchase more.
The packaging for the dressing is also very unique and reminded me of a wine bottle as there was a cork in the bottle and the top was covered in wax!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Foodiepages April 2014 Tasting Box Review!

 The April tasting box is fairly new to me.
So far I have been lucky to order March and April's box and by "accident" also got the Feb box.
By accident, I mean I placed an order thinking it was for the March box a second time (was going to be a surprise gift...not for myself) and when I opened my box saw it was the Feb 2014 items.
That is not a problem as I had never tried those items!
How the Foodiepages box works is that at the beginning of the month you must be one of the first 50 people to order the box and it is first come first served. It is not a subscription, but a one time purchase. The cost is $14.95 and shipping is around $7 extra.
Previously shipping was included and it seems at the lower price point the boxes were flying out the door and I could never manage to order one.
So far the value of the boxes I've gotten has been around $23 or so which is not a very high value for a subscription kind of box, but I do enjoy trying new handmade foods and find it is still a worthwhile purchase for me.
I am always looking for some new handmade Canadian foods for gifts as most people I know do not want "stuff" from the mall and would rather have some new food item to try!
If you are interested in ordering anything from Foodiepages, I will post my referal link where I can get a credit towards future orders. It would be appreciated if you could click on that :)

I forgot to take a picture of all the April 2014 tasting box items together, but do have some of the pictures of what the actual food items were.
The box comes with a card describing the items and what part of Canada the producer is based in.


Kimberley's Own Nibscotti and Batch Sweet Kitchen Popcorn

Batch Sweet Kitchen Salted Caramel Popcorn: The sample size was around 50 grams if I recall and the value is around $4.00. I ate quite a bit of it before taking the picture, but did weigh it on my electronic scale.
The salted caramel corn has a rich toffee taste and you could also taste the sea salt quite well. There was also some pecans in the mix. I kind of wish I had a bigger bag of this as it was delicious!

kimberley's own Nibscotti: This is a product that is so new, it has not yet been listed for sale on the Kimberley's Own website (when I checked a couple weeks ago). What was sent out was a sampler of the product- I have no idea yet on how many will be in a regular bag or if these will only be mini biscotti bites.
The three Nibscotti were around 3" in height and not too thick.
This is an interesting version of biscotti, as it is made with the Kimberley's Own gluten-free granola and shaped like cute biscotti!
In Italian biscotti means that something is baked twice, so what seems to be done here is the granola was first made, then shaped and baked to retain the biscotti shape.

Now I'm sure you want to know how these Nibscotti tasted?
I was very reminded of granola bars, as these were made with oats, ground almonds, chia, honey. These did not taste gluten-free and I think if you enjoy crunchy snacks this would be a good product to try.
Also before I forget, the nutrition for these is quite good too- with the three Nibscotti coming in at 120 calories, 6 grams of fat, 15 grams carbs and 4 grams for protein!
These would definitely make a good snack for people who are into health and fitness too!

Louise Prete Sugo Pomodoro all'Amatriciana tomato sauce!

Louise Prete Fine Foods Sugo Pomodoro all'Amatriciana pasta sauce: This was a full size jar of the sauce and a 737 gram jar with a value of $9.99.
This is quite a heavy item to ship, so I feel the price of the tasting box is quite fair.
The tomato sauce was delicious and was also a bit spicy. There is also the addition of some bacon that comes from a local farmer and this made the sauce even more "fancy" and tasty- even though I'm sure just the other sauces are great too!
In the picture above I did not add anything to the sauce and I used some vegetable pasta for this trial.
I found you do not need to add anything extra to the sauce, but I did add some fresh parmesan and that was tasty also!

My overall impression of the April 2014 Foodiepages box:

I thought this box had a good mix of sweet and savory items!

It is nice to see a box that focuses on more than just snacks and bars. Everything in the box was very tasty amd it is hard to pick a favorite item when you like them all.
The value of the box was not that high with a total of around $16.oo. This is because I have no idea how to price the Nibscotti and did not add that in my total.
While the value may not have been that great, I know it is expensive to ship a heavy glass jar of pasta sauce, as well as the tomato jam was in a glass jar too.
I still think the box is worth getting as you do save on shipping and get to try items from other parts of Canada that you might not know about.
I'm looking forwards to seeing what new items will be in future boxes!

Have you tried any of these items and what was your favorite one?
What would you try the pasta sauce with? curious to hear some suggestions....